Work and Play... a case for play, the simpler the better!

The following is the original and the rewrite can be found by clicking here.

I want to make it clear upfront I am not talking about what we like to call "work - life balance"... an ever growing misnomer if ever there was one; what is supposed to balance off the 55 hour work week can be just as challenging - Life can sometimes be very hard. What I am talking about is work and play, and how energizing play can be.

Work (verb): be engaged in physical or mental activity in order to achieve a purpose or result, especially in one's job; do work


Play (verb): engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.

I had the opportunity to spend a weekend with some friends at a cottage on a northern Ontario lake . Some will say there is no better way to send a summer weekend - An opportunity to get away from the summer heat, enjoy the water, breathe fresh air and catch up with old friends.

Inevitably, after catching up on everyone's current state of affairs and settling onto the dock, someone says, "So what do you want to do now?" Ideas were bantered about, all very adult and expected... then someone noticed something lying up on the shore.

Inventive branding called it the "Floater Mat", but it was simply a very larger piece of foam that could float on the water, easily able to support the weight of a person or two (and as it turned out, three). Ultimately coined the "Lilly Pad Game", the rules were simple - Stay on the mat and try to knock the other person off by moving all around. All of us* played on the mat for hours... laughing, falling off, getting back on, not caring who stayed up longest, encouraging everyone to take a turn and not keeping score. No one was there to win, or compete, prove a point or turn it into a lesson; we simply were there to play and have fun - I felt cleaner for it... renewed. 

It was as if the build up that comes with every day life was wiped away, if only for a little while... I had a renewed energy, imagination and sense of possibility. And something else came with the Lilly Pad game, which I can only describe as a great sense of "self and well being". I suspect some would suggest that those over the age of fourteen should not find themselves engaging in such activities, but for me, I did not care... I did not care what people thought and enjoyed the moment that I innately knew was good for me - I was literally going to run and jump and play!

Play is seen as a competitor to work, but I will argue that it is the true balance for work and brings energy, confidence, imagination and well being. I also believe it is the simplest of play, the play that strikes the imagination of children, where the real power lies. So when you are at that next team building event and asked to colour, make something out of crafts or sing a song... GO FOR IT - you will be better for it.



* Unfortunately Huey had a spill on his mountain bike and couldn't play the Lilly Pad game. Dewey, the Duke, Puddly, Sippy and Mr. Tardy were able to play and I hope they got as much out of it as I did. Their friendship is cherished and I am better for it.